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Rivals No. 1 Overall Class for 2011
5-star PF Anthony Davis (No. 2 overall, No. 1 PF)
5-star SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (No. 3 overall, No. 1 SF)
5-star PG Marquis Teague (No. 5 overall, No. 1 PG)
5-star PF Kyle Wiltjer (No. 22 overall, No. 5 PF)
John Calipari had two incredible classes come before this one, but his 2011-12 class will likely be a benchmark that all other coaches strive to match. In terms of player and position rankings, this group is in a class of its own and is arguably the single greatest recruiting coup in history.
Never before have three of the country’s five best prospects committed to one school. However, fellow top-five recruits Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague broke new ground by committing to play for the Wildcats.
In addition each player was the top-ranked prospect at their respective position. This feat had never occurred in one recruiting class, but Calipari pulled it off.
Davis was the nation’s best power forward, Kidd-Gilchrist ranked as the top small forward recruit, and Marquis Teague was heralded as the most talented point guard prospect.
These three players were not the only five-star recruits to commit to Kentucky. A fourth player, Kyle Wiltjer, committed to the Cats before visiting campus. Wiltjer was a five-star power forward and was a consensus Top-25 recruit in the 2011 class. He specialized in long-range shooting and won the 2011 McDonald’s All-American Three Point Shootout.
During the season all four freshmen were fantastic and guided Kentucky to a NCAA-record 38 wins and the SEC regular season championship. Davis, Teague and Kidd-Gilchrist each averaged over ten points per game and played terrific defense.
Anthony Davis was the standout player of the group as he produced one of the most heralded single seasons in college basketball history. Davis won all six major National Player of the Year awards, set a freshman record for blocks in a season, was selected as a First-Team All-American and won the Final Four Most Outstanding Player award.
This incredible foursome went on to lead Kentucky to their second consecutive Final Four appearance. From there the Wildcats defeated archrival Louisville and then took home the 2012 NCAA title by beating Kansas.
It was the school’s first title since 1998, breaking a 14-year drought for the nation’s proudest fan base.
When comparing this group to Florida's 2004 class, there are a lot of similarities. Each group consists of four players who were leaders on their team.
I understand that the Florida class achieved more on the court than this one. However, this team produced one of the most decorated single seasons in college basketball history and features one of the best college players of our generation in Anthony Davis.
It is also remarkable that this one class features three top-five overall prospects, each of whom is the top-ranked player at their respective position. That is an accomplishment that is simply unmatched by any other class and gives the 2011 group a leg-up over the competition.
They are the greatest single recruiting class of the past decade of college basketball.